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What Happens to Women After 40 Years of Age?

Posted in: Health, Conditions
By Dr. Pantea Etminan, NHD
Sep 27, 2010 - 1:16:00 PM

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We know that a lot could happen to a women over 40, especially psychologically, but we are going to talk about the physical body factors here. How does the metabolism change, thus placing an effect on the physical portion of the body. How do the hormones change and how does the need of a women change.

A women starts major process of change after age forty. Her body starts to shift gears in a different direction. The hormones start to change drastically, giving rise to many different changes within the system and the anatomy. Usually, there is a huge drop of hormone estrogen, which affects a women's system dramatically- from the way she feels to the way she metabolizes food. As the estrogen levels disappear, the cells feel a loss telling the body that they need to be replaced. There are a lot of estrogen dependant cells in the stomach area, thus we see more difference in the mid section than other parts of the body. Hunger becomes more predominant, giving rise to an appetite that is insatiable. The cells are missing  estrogen and are requesting for it to be replace, therefore  the individual feels hungry and has a desire to eat more to satisfy its need; while the body's ability to metabolize lessens. In addition, the estrogen usually, helps to metabolize fat more efficiently; and not being there anymore to do its job, fat starts to accumulate easily. Therefore, women start to see weight gain, especially around their waist.

Muscle loss is another factor that happens drastically after forty. Each decade there will be an amount of muscle loss (this amount depends on the individual and how their body behaves; in addition to how the person is keeping her body mass. It usually would be from 3 to 8% muscle loss per decade). After twenty years of age, the body starts to accumulate fat, if appropriate amount of exercise and diet are not taken into consideration. So, by age forty, depending on how the individual has lived her life, there will be a change seen. The rate of metabolization drops drastically, thus a change of behavior in how one eats and exercises needs to take place in order to maintain a healthy body. It is not, necessarily, difficult but rather a change that one needs to adjust to and become aware of.

What changes are needed after age forty?

It is vital that you take a look at how your diet and lifestyle is at this point. If you have not been one to eat healthy and exercise, you may need to do some serious research and adjustment in order for your body to be healthy and not age dramatically. But if you are one that has been into physical exercise and health foods, then you may have an easier time, but still need to seek certain changes to keep yourself well. Your diet and activity in life is one of the major factors that needs to be addressed. Eating right for your body type and exercising daily would be an important step towards a successful health. Since the metabolism starts to change and dip, you need to make adjustments of how much you eat and the quality of your food would become important. Eating foods that enrich your body instead of taking away from it, eating foods rich in live nutrients such as whole fresh foods, and staying away from designer foods and fats would be few things to look at. Getting adequate rest is another important factor here; so that your body has enough time to rejuvenate itself and be in good health. Making sure that you get too much stress out of your life and get some down time will go very far in helping your at this time as well. Exercise and building muscle mass will help you with your metabolism and muscle loss. As Aerobic exercise help to burn calories and raise metabolism on some level, weight and resistant training will help with building  and strengthening muscle, thus raising your metabolism more permanently (since muscle has capacity of bringing 3 times as much as fat- in calories).

Here are suggestions for women after 40:

  • Do a cleanse to begin with and make it part of your yearly routine (at least 2-4 times a year or as you feel you need one).
  • Eat more quality foods and less designer foods.
  • Eating some kind of fiber food at each meal will help with metabolization and waste removal.  25 grams of fiber is recommended amount for women daily.
  • Choose your foods mindfully.
  • Amount matters. Adjust the amount of food you eat at every meal.
  • Eat less and make sure to add some kind of an activity to your daily life.
  • Get time in for just you- meditate, pray or do what makes you feel at ease.
  • Get fresh air and sun daily. This will help you from cellular level, rejuvenating every cell and allowing your system to do its job more appropriately.
  • Get adequate sleep every night. Everyone is different, but usually 7-10 hours, depending on your personal need.
  • Consult with a natural health practitioner to learn more about what would be adequate for your certain body type and individuality- as everyone is different and have their own particular need. Getting educated and learning what works for you is one of the most important things you could do to better your life for you. You could also find out what herbs would be right for you to boost your metabolism and immunity.

Here are some suggestions to eating better:

  • Build your food choices on at least 80% from whole fresh foods, such as fresh produce (vegetables and fruits)
  • Legumes are full of nutrients that you could benefit from and fair amount of fiber in each serving (black, white, pinto, red, navy-beans, lentils, garbanzo beans). Beans and legumes contain soluble fiber which lowers insulin levels that would in return prevent fat from growing.
  • Whole grains contain fiber and nutrients, should be eaten in small amounts and moderation only
  • Nuts and pure nut butter ( the ones that do not contain any other ingredient than just the nut itself)
  • Whole seeds (sesame, pumpkin, flax, sunflower)
  • Fats should be monitored and eaten in very small amounts if eaten in each meal. The type of fat should be taken into account- unsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids only.
  • Processed foods of any kind should be avoided (processed flour, sugar, fats, salts)
  • Food chemicals should be avoided (would include colors, flavors, pesticides, odors, fake sugars, fake fats and etc.)
  • Organic, eating as much as you can organic will be a great addition to health. Pesticides contain obesogenes that are treated like fat in your system. So, they trigger fat cells to grow.
  • Natural sugars should be the only type of sugars to eat (dried fruit, agave nectar, stevia, raw honey, natural maple syrup)
  • Drink purified water - stay away from soda pop or other drinks that would contain sugar
  • Get in a habit of drinking tea daily, green/oolong/black/herb

Foods that would raise your metabolism

  • Black, green, or oolong tea - they are rich in polyphenols that would help with fat loss. Also, contain some caffeine which is helpful as well. Herbal tea does have polyphenols and rich in antioxidants- so they are helpful too, especially in the evening time when you may not want to have caffeine type drinks.
  • Black, red, green peppers - peppers are rich in capsaicin that are immune and metabolism boosters.
  • Beans - being rich in fiber and great in nutrients, they are helpful, preventing fat build up. 2 cups a day would be as much as you would want to go. More you may get a big tummy full of gas!
  • Of course, eating more veggies will boost your metabolism by their nutrient factor and on a cellular level.

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